By Jon Delano

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ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – Not that long ago, Pittsburgh was the American headquarters for the German-based Bayer Corporation, with over 2,600 employees working at its campus off Parkway West.

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On Tuesday morning, Bayer told its remaining employees there its presence in Robinson is about to end.

“Today we made the very difficult announcing that we are closing our Robinson facility,” Chris Loder, Bayer’s vice president of external communications, told KDKA.

“And this is a difficult day for our employees and their families given the proud history that Robinson has played not just in Bayer’s history but in the entire region.”

Loder said that just under 600 employees and 100 contract workers will lose their jobs in Robinson over the next two years.

“We are committed to treating everybody who is affected by this with dignity and respect in this entire process,” said Loder.

So does that mean that these employees will have another job at Bayer?

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“Well, right now we are still obviously exploring options of where this work will happen, but we are closing this site,” Loder said. “I want people to understand that this site is being closed down.”

The work at Robinson was primarily administrative support – IT, payroll, accounting, HR and legal.

As for the site itself, Bayer is exploring options with Covestro, a spin-off company that took over Bayer’s material science work in 2015 and still remains along Parkway West.

As for the work of the Bayer Foundation, also based in Pittsburgh, the company insists, “the commitments that we have made to the non-profit organizations and the charitable organizations in the Pittsburgh region will remain at the same levels in 2019 and 2020.”

Bayer is not completely exiting the region.

Some 1,300 employees still remain in Indianola, Saxonburg, and O’Hara as part of the radiology operations of the company’s pharmaceuticals division, Loder said.

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The company has released a statement to the media about the closure, reading:

“For more than 150 years, Bayer has stood for quality and trust, making innovative products in health and nutrition that improve lives and make a contribution to society. Our employees around the globe work every day to find solutions to a growing and aging population.

“With the acquisition of Monsanto completed last year, we doubled the size of our business in the United States to more than $16 billion in sales, and we now employ more than 20,000 people in 300 locations across the country.

“As part of the work to bring our companies together and significantly improve productivity and profitability, Bayer announced in November 2018 that it will reduce 12,000 jobs globally by 2021.

“In the United States, we are beginning to implement this by consolidating administrative functions to best support our agriculture business, which is headquartered in St. Louis, and our healthcare businesses, which are headquartered in Whippany, N.J.

“As a first step toward this consolidation, we are announcing that we will be closing our administrative site in Robinson, PA, and informed employees at this site today. This decision will impact 569 positions and 96 contractors.

“This is certainly a difficult decision given the impact it will have on our colleagues and their families, and the important role the site has played in our company’s history. We have an extremely talented workforce in Robinson and a proud and rich history. We thank our colleagues for their hard work and dedication over the years.

“We will transition the site closing in a thoughtful, orderly manner over a two-year period to provide ample time for employees and operations to transition smoothly and to ensure that we continue to serve our customers and businesses effectively. We are exploring options where key work at the site will be performed.

“We have the utmost appreciation for the employees and their families affected by this decision, and we are committed to treating each employee with dignity and respect throughout this process. We know that changes like this can be uneasy and even a bit stressful for our employees – and for the community. That is why we will honor our commitments and continue to support important groups like non-profits and other charitable organizations in the region at the same level in 2019 and 2020.”